The Ultimate Guide to Portrait Photography Settings for Beginners 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Portrait Photography Settings for Beginners 2018


In this Post is an Ultimate Guide to Portrait Photography Settings for Beginners.

You will learn, what are the basic settings one can use to start taking Amazing Portraits.

You will learn some Rule of Thumbs for Portrait Photography so that you can master the Art of Portrait Photography.

The Ultimate Guide to Portrait Photography Settings for Beginners 2018 1

Portrait Photography is the most fun and Exciting genre of Photography amongst all.

Once, we get our first Camera it is most likely that the first thing which we are going to do is take the Portrait image of someone be it your friend or family members.

Though you can take portrait images without any guidance or some sorts of rules to follow.

But if you are a beginner and shooting with DSLR camera then these reference guide will help you to take full control over the output result rather than relying on auto settings.

So, it is always recommended to always shoot in manual mode, if you want to become a Professional Photographer and want the Professional images with your DSLR.

Following are the Rules of Reference or some Tips which will help you to get started with the Portrait Photography and take to the next level.


Aperture-Basic Portrait Photography Settings


The aperture in DSLR Camera is defined with the ‘f’ Letter.

Aperture basically controls how much light passes through the Camera sensor and it is defined with ‘f’ Stops.

Aperture also controls the Depth-of-Field which mean how much background will be blurred in the final Images.

In general, terms, if you want everything in full focus then you need to choose the Narrow Aperture which means the high ‘f’ Number like f-11.

But if you want lesser part of the Subject or the image in focus then you need to choose Widest Aperture which means low ‘f’ Number like f-1.8 or f-3.5 etc.

So, if you want the flattering Portrait images then aim for Lowest ‘f’ number on your DSLR camera as this would make your background blur and your subject would stand out.


The Rule of thumb


Go for the Lowest ‘f’ number to Blur the Background or get the Bokeh-Effect.  


The Bokeh effect is what everybody is after that is why you can buy some Prime Lenses which are specifically made for the Portrait Photography.

Portrait Photography Settings

You can check out my Post on Best Budget Portrait Lenses here.

Here are the Most Popular Portrait lenses which are called the Prime Lenses.


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85 mm

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35 mm

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70-200 mm

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105 mm

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The Ultimate Guide to Portrait Photography Settings for Beginners 2018 2

Learn Trick Photography Like this! Click the Image Below!

The Ultimate Guide to Portrait Photography Settings for Beginners 2018 3


SHUTTER SPEED-Basic Portrait Photography Settings


Now let’s look at the settings for the shutter speed for Portrait Photography.

The second important thing which helps you to take stunning portrait images is the shutter speed.

Shutter Speed plays the most important part of getting the Sharp and Clear picture.

If you do not choose the correct shutter speed, then you might get blurry shots and blurry shots are useless.

The Rule of Thumb


Start with 1/125 of a Second or at least double the minimum focal length of the Lens

If you are shooting people obviously in Portrait Photography unless you are taking shots of Animals, you need to keep your shutter speed fast enough so that you don’t get shakes and avoid blurry shots.

The Rule of Thumb says you should start with 1/125 shutter Speed or at least it should be double the minimum focal length of your camera lens.

e.g. if you are shooting with 50 mm lens then your Shutter Speed should be at least 1/100 of a second, which is the double of 50mm lens.

Whereas if you are shooting with 18-55 mm lens and you are shooting at 18mm then it should be at least 1/40 or more to avoid shakes and blurry shots.

Portrait Photography Settings for Portrait of Children

Portrait Photography Settings

However, this Rule of thumb does not apply if you are shooting children as they are the most unsteady and moving subjects and Portrait of children require special settings.

For taking children portraits, you need to use the burst mode in your DSLR camera.

The burst mode in DSLR cameras is basically used for Action Photography or the Sports Photography.

Since the children are always in action, we need to capture their every single action, even if you instruct them to stay steady, it is very difficult for them.

Portrait Photography Settings

For that purpose, we need to select the burst mode in the shutter mode options.

With the burst mode, the DSLR our cameras take multiple frames in a second and that helps us to get the desired frame of action.

Portrait Photography Settings

Since children are always moving, there are chances of blurred or not sharp shots.

But if you are shooting in burst mode and you have the multiple frames and you would be able to get at least few shots which are sharp and clear.

You will also be amazed by the result while shooting children in burst mode.

Portrait Photography Settings

The next most important thing is the ISO settings

So, let’s look at the ISO settings.

The rule of the thumb for the ISO

The rule of the thumb says that you should always aim for the highest quality.

So, you should always try to choose the lowest ISO number.

Always choose the Lowest ISO number!

Since the High ISO number introduces the digital noise and grains in the image you should always go for the minimum ISO.

Portrait Photography Settings

In the most DSLR cameras the minimum ISO is 100 but in some Full-Frame DSLR cameras, it even goes down to 50.

But there are situations where you cannot just choose 100 ISO in that situation you can increase your ISO settings up to 400 and if you are shooting with the High-End or full frame DSLR cameras than you can even go for 800.

Though the latest technologies making new DSLR cameras capable of delivering High-Quality even with High ISO but at the moment it is not yet useful.

Just remember more ISO means more Digital Noise or Grains and lesser quality.

So, go for the Lowest ISO number.


One more Bonus Tip for Portrait Photography  

In case you are shooting backlit portraits, it is very hard to light the face of your subject or the model well exposed even after using the reflectors.

In that situation, instead of increasing the ISO, you should use your exposure compensation meter to brighten the face of the subject or the model.

So, these were my ultimate guiding tips for Portrait Photography basic settings.

But remember these are just for the reference and you should not limit your creativity by these guidelines.


If You want to download the Quick Reference Guide, then Please click the Download button.

By Downloading this Ultimate Portrait Photography Settings Guide you can print it or keep it on your mobile to have the quick reference as and when needed.

Guide to Portrait Photography Basic Settings

Download Now

Now it’s your turn

Do you find these Tips or this Guide useful or which one you found the most useful?

Leave your Answers in the Comments below!

If you have any sort of question then please feel free to ask in the comments section and I would be happy to hear from you and reply to your question.

And to get more support I have the awesome Facebook group which is a community of photographers and artists from all around the world.

In that Facebook group, you can share your work with us you can get feedback on your work or help related to Photography or the Post-Processing.

You can join the awesome Facebook community by clicking below.

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Waiting for your comments and questions!

Love to hear from you!

Get engaged-be part of this Learning Family.


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